Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our Own Piece of History

On the 4th weekend of every month here in Nashville, they have this huge flea market at the state fair grounds. We went last weekend with some friends and tried our best not to buy any furniture (a known weakness), yet once again we managed to fail at our goal.  Of course for $28, we couldn't really pass this up.

 What is it? Well, Susan gets all the credit for finding this gem as I had walked past it a good 5 times without paying any attention. It's a 1966 Magnavox console stereo. That may not mean much to most of you, but the story that goes along with it was as meaningful as anything I had ever purchased. There was an old lady selling this and what looked like a bunch of other stuff from her house and this was priced at $55. She told Susan that she was selling it for $28 (1/2 off) because the record player portion didn't work and she just needed to get rid of it.

One caveat that I've forgotten to explain up to this point is why this was such a cool purchase to us. Vinyl has been making a huge resurgence over the last 4 or 5 years and Suz and I have been buying a lot of it from time to time. We don't buy just anything, it has to be an album or artist that we really like (Susan has a soft spot for Billy Joel records while I've been trying to grab the complete collections of Zeppelin, The Stones & The Beatles.) I don't appreciate vinyl in a smug hipster sort of way. Our record player is just a plain model that gets the job done, not some crazy expensive job that costs as much as my first car.

So basically, we were going to buy this stereo regardless of its condition electronically just because it looked so cool. Then the lady selling it started talking about it when I asked a few questions about its story. This lady was in her early 70s and looked like your typical grandma (I had meant to grab a picture of her with the stereo, but completely forgot to do that..) complete with denim dress shirt monogrammed with a Dr. Seuss "Cat in the Hat" logo. I should have known that at this point, anyone who would sport that shirt had to be pretty damn cool.  Turns out she was more than that. As she started reminiscing about the stereo, you could sense the joy those memories brought back to her. She said that she still remembered the day it was delivered and that she couldn't have been happier if it was a brand new corvette. I imagined that she was listening to the latest Patsy Cline records or whatever else was popular for country music in Nashville in the mid to late 1960s. Turns out I was wrong. She said that she owned every record of every band that she had seen live when they came through Nashville or a nearby city (Atlanta would be my best guess.) The Beatles, Rolling Stones, you name it, she had seen them live. I especially enjoyed her story of being so close up front for The Rolling Stones that she could have touched Mic Jagger's leg.  She even said, "He was just a kid then!" as if to admit that there was a time long, long ago when the years were stripped away and she could remember herself and Mic in their youth. She told us about her son growing up listening to all their classic rock albums on the stereo and I thought about the fact that somewhere there's a guy who thinks about this stereo every time he hears "Beast of Burden" or "Paperback Writer". I thought about the record player we had growing up and how my sister, bless her heart, would play Men at Work and a Sawyer Brown record on repeat for hours.

This is the same girl who rented Pee Wee's Big Adventure every week at the video store. When I say every week, I mean EVERY WEEK!!! It got to a point that I'd beg my parents to make her get something else because I knew I'd have to sit through it again.  That led to her switching to renting Hugga Bunch every week. It was horrible. Every time the (SPOILER ALERT) grandma got ready to pass on my sister would burst into tears.

You can see how this stereo brings back memories even for me and we could tell that the lady really enjoyed the fact that it was going to a good home (as she kept saying that) and that we would get some use out of it. As I type this, I've got the Foo Fighters blasting through it and it sounds awesome. They truly don't make things like they used to. As I was getting ready to go get a vehicle to load it up (btw, thanks to out friends Sara and Burhan for helping us get it home) she gave us this note to get us into the grounds.  I like that she wrote a nice little note on the back.

I'm still not sure what my point is for sharing all of this with you guys, other than I thought it was pretty cool that we bought a stereo from a lady that had seen the Stones live and that since 1966, this thing has sat in two living rooms, hers and ours. I guess more than anything it made me appreciate older folks. Its easy to forget that once upon a time they were young just like us and that they were around when all of these bands became famous (in our generations defense, we got to welcome Nickelback and Creed into the music world. Take that Baby Boomers...)

It's something that I know Suz and I will cherish, plus despite its age (46 years!) it has an aux input, so I like the idea of hooking an mp3 player up to it. Most of all it has character and charm, something that our world could use a bit more of.

1 comment:

  1. I loooooove the flea market!! That place is full of characters and stories. I want to just take pictures of people some time. Maybe I could say I was a "photography student putting together my portfolio". I didn't get to go last weekend, but I go every month! Goodies abound!